When COVID-19 began to rapidly spread in spring 2020, the National Restaurant Association Show was the first major industry event to be canceled. Since, then operators, manufacturers and equipment dealers have been waiting to return to the country’s largest showcase of foodservice concepts and solutions.
The 2022 event promises to be the comeback everyone has been waiting for. More than 1,300 exhibitors are already set to attend the show from May 21-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago. “The 2022 National Restaurant Association Show is well on its way to becoming the best yet. After the unprecedented challenges the industry has faced over the past year and a half, we couldn’t be more excited to welcome everyone back to Chicago in May,” Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions, the event’s operator, said in a statement. “As excitement builds for the 2022 show, we are expecting a full and robust show floor where attendees will have the opportunity to taste exciting and unique products, interact with new equipment innovations, create business connections with key suppliers, access education on today’s biggest topics and gain access to invaluable peer-to-peer networking. It is sure to be the most highly-anticipated show to date, and we can’t wait to bring our community back together.”
As attendees look forward to the event, they can follow the latest news and access planning tools through The Show To Go online resource at https://www.nationalrestaurantshow.com/mys/show-to-go. This portal offers free educational sessions led by industry experts and connections to suppliers and products. Users can explore content within seven unique tracks: culinary insights, operations solutions, the new consumer, technology strategies, trends in adult beverages, wellness and workforce recruitment and development.
The educational opportunities will continue at the in-person event. The show floor will include several stages where industry experts will conduct live demonstrations of their cooking techniques. There will also be two expert-led workshops. In the first session, attendees can learn about ghost kitchens and virtual brands while the second workshop will show how business leaders can navigate the foodservice technology landscape.
Commercial kitchen equipment will take the focus at the Kitchen Innovation Awards, an annual program that recognizes the year’s most forward-thinking and cutting-edge innovations that meaningfully improve foodservice operations. Products are chosen for the awards by an independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders and good facility consultants, multi-unit executives and design experts. To qualify, a product must be new to the market within 24 months of the 2022 National Restaurant Association Show.
“One of the highlights of the National Restaurant Association Show each year is the Kitchen Innovation Awards, which honors companies who have developed products that help industry growth through a focus on automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, waste solutions and more,” Cindric said. “The 2022 Show will mark the largest showcase of foodservice innovation in the history of our event as we recognize the 2022 KI awardees and the recipients from 2020 and 2021. This year’s KI Showroom will be the ideal place to find the most innovative and ground-breaking foodservice equipment that is shaping the future of our industry.”
The awards have highlighted equipment from FEDA manufacturer members in past years. “Hoshizaki’s involvement with the Kitchen Innovations Award program has been invaluable for showcasing our newest innovative products,” said Sally Ray, director of marketing for Hoshizaki. “The pavilion at the show gives us the opportunity to talk with people who are looking for ways to improve their operation – and that lends itself to the best conversations and in my experience, great relationships.”
To learn more about the 2022 National Restaurant Association Show, visit nationalrestaurantshow.com.